We still have another goal on the table. Despite the letdown last Saturday, the season isn’t over. We’ll find out Sunday night whether the Tigers are going to the Orange Bowl or the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Hopefully we’ll beat someone’s teeth in in January to salvage some of the unrest over being 0-2 against SC and FSU (for the past two seasons).
A ridiculous and almost unimaginable 6 turnovers stalled momentum at critical points in the game. It ended up being too much to overcome for an offense that averaged an otherwise solid 6 yards per play (accounting for sacks).
We ran the ball enough to do what we needed in the short passing game. A big point of discussion following the game has been why we didn’t try to stretch the field more. Truth is, the Gamecocks did pretty much everything they could to prevent the deep pass, and when we weren’t turning the ball over, we were taking what they gave us and moving the ball well despite occasional pressure on Boyd.
Breakdowns in defending the QB run were a common sight, as Shaw was able to convert 10-19 first downs against a defense that held Mike Davis in check. The snap infraction that didn’t get called also hurt tremendously.
I’ll get this out of the way – Connor Shaw is one Gamecock I respect. The guy is just a competitor, and as frustrating as it is to watch him scamper out of the pocket against the Tigers, you have to realize that he’s been doing this is whole career. He’s obviously been a huge reason that SCAR has won as many games as they have in the past few years.
It’s hard to blame the defense. Between Connor Shaw’s knack for being a PITA and the fact that our offense and special teams units either 1) failed to take advantage of critical stops 2) forced the defense to defend a short field, did not bode well in this game. It’s a chicken vs. egg type deal. I think the defense did enough for us to win this game.
There’s not much more to say except that we need to do figure out what’s going on in this game and find a way to get it right. I’m not paid to be the coach, so I have no answers how to go about doing so. I’m hoping Dabo can turn around our late trend of losing to SCAR and FSU, because winning those games is key to fulfilling 3 of the team’s 5 goals per season (1. win the opener 2. win the division 3. win the ACC 4. win the state championship 5. win the bowl game). Although 10 wins certainly constitutes a good winning percentage, I’m looking for a season where the Tigers are able to accomplish all 5 goals. They have the talent and staff to do it, we just have to get it done.
Here’s to setting the tone for next season in the upcoming bowl game.